The Moneyist: ‘My husband’s kids hate me and didn’t come to our wedding, yet he’s leaving them all his money.’ How can I secure my future?

The Moneyist: ‘My husband’s kids hate me and didn’t come to our wedding, yet he’s leaving them all his money.’ How can I secure my future?

4 Jan    Finance News

Dear Moneyist,

I recently married a man that I have been friends with for 41 years. My husband’s children hate me and refused to come to our wedding, yet he is leaving them all of his property. He is wealthier than me and before we got married he required me to sign a prenuptial agreement. I was fine with this as I thought it would make him and his adult children more comfortable. He is now 70 and I am 62.

He has a trust for his family that was already set up before I came into his life. I told him that I needed a place to live after he passes away. He proposed that he should purchase a term life-insurance policy that only lasts until he is 80 for $500,000. What if he dies at 81? I get nothing?

‘He proposed that he should purchase a term life-insurance policy. I proposed that we purchase a second home in San Diego.’

I proposed that we purchase a second home in San Diego. I would then have a home to live in when he passes away. I want this in my name so his children will not try to take it away from me when he passes. I asked him for a portion of the down payment. I would pay the mortgage. I would like to pass this house to my children when I die.

They are not speaking to him at all and have cut off all communication with him. He continues to reach out to them with my blessing. My hope is that things will work out with his children and we can all have a better relationship. They treated his girlfriend of 14 years before me the same way, so I don’t take it personally.

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Also see: Can I leave my stepchildren nothing if my husband dies?

What do you think of his and my proposals? His term life-insurance policy idea seems like throwing away money if he passes away after he is 80. Doesn’t purchasing a home sound like a better way to ensure that I will not be homeless when he passes? It would also be a place we could enjoy together, and it would be an investment.


Dear Laura,

This is exactly the kind of conversation that would have been better to have before you got married and life-insurance policy premiums are generally cheaper if you buy the policy earlier rather than later, although the premiums for a term life-insurance policy typically increase over time. Still, you are where you are and I applaud you for having this conversation at all. Many couples avoid talking about such issues until it’s too late because they simply find them too awkward.

Also see: As a baby boomer, I didn’t grow up with this culture of entitlement — do I have to leave my estate to my children or spouse?

He has provided for his family and he appears to be making an effort to show you the same courtesy. Both suggestions would leave you in a better position. It should be possible to convert the term life-insurance policy to a permanent policy at the end of the term or renew it. A home would give you the physical and financial security you need, but making you a tenant for life in your current home would do the same thing. That, plus the life-insurance policy, would be a good outcome.

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A prenuptial agreement also supersedes the laws of a community-property state — Louisiana, Arizona, California, Texas, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin — that state that property acquired during the marriage should be shared 50/50. You’re 62. You are still young enough to make plans for yourself: Go back to college or, if you haven’t already, find part-time work that could help you in the event that your husband predeceases you.

The good news if you want to work: unemployment is at a 50-year low. A decade-long bull market, and rising corporate profits and continued economic growth have contributed to a stronger labor market in 2019: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.81%  is up 22.7% at 28,645 year-to-date, while the S&P 500 SPX, -0.71%  is up 29.2% at 3,240 so far this year.

Whatever you decide, this should not be done lightly. Consult an estate lawyer and/or a financial adviser for the best options available.

Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).

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